Pro Pattern Layout Tips + Comment for a Chance to Win a Prize Pack!

SN1409Cover 500wpx Pro Pattern Layout Tips + Comment for a Chance to Win a Prize Pack!The latest issue of Sew News is jam-packed with free e-patterns, along with tips and techniques to adjust, correct and make those patterns work for you.  Read on to take this refresher course on pattern layout and learn to prep your patterns like a pro.  Plus, comment below for a chance to win a pattern prize pack from Indygo Junction!

Pattern 195x300 Pro Pattern Layout Tips + Comment for a Chance to Win a Prize Pack!

The Pattern

  1. Referring to the view you’d like to make, cut out the pattern pieces you’ll be using. Completely separate all the pattern pieces for the project.
  2. Press the pieces flat with a dry, warm iron. Pressing will make cutting easier and more accurate.
  3. Organize pieces by separating lining and interfacing from the remaining fabric, then put in numerical order.

The Layout

  1. Circle the pattern layout guide you’re using to avoid confusion. Look over the layout before pinning the pattern pieces to the fabric.
  2. Work on a large, flat surface so you can spread the fabric out flat. If you’re table isn’t large enough, work with one section at a time. However, don’t cut any pattern pieces until all are pinned in place.

Tip: For best results, don’t let fabric hang off the table edge. Support it with a chair or roll it so it won’t tug and stretch. If you must cut on the floor, a hard floor is better than carpet. If you’re working on carpet, spread out a bedsheet or a cardboard cutting surface and place the fabric on it. Try and keep your fabric as smooth and wrinkle-free as possible!

  1. Fold the fabric as noted in the layout, usually in half lengthwise, making sure the selvages are even.
  2. Pin the pattern pieces in place. Read your pattern carefully to determine if the printed side should be up or down.PatternA 300x262 Pro Pattern Layout Tips + Comment for a Chance to Win a Prize Pack!
  3. Use a ruler or measuring tape to make sure the pattern grainline is equidistant from the fabric edge for its entire length. Once in position, pin the pattern in place along the grainline, then double check the grain by measuring the distance between the line and the fabric edge at each end (A).
  4. When the grainline is straight, place pins around the pattern perimeter.PatternB 300x240 Pro Pattern Layout Tips + Comment for a Chance to Win a Prize Pack! 1/4″ inside the cutting line and perpendicular to the edge (B). Space pins about 6” apart. If the pins will damage the fabric, pin only in the seam allowances.
  5. If the fabric has a nap, like velvet or corduroy, use the “with nap” layout, with all the pieces laid out in the same direction.
  6. If the fabric has a large design, you’ll want to consider where the design will fall on the body when the garment is complete. For example, if your fabric has large roses on it, you probably don’t want them to be centered on the bust point.
  7. Take a break after pinning the project. When you return, double-check your layout before cutting.

Don’t forget to check out the latest issue of Sew News for more great patternmaking tips and techniques, plus more than 30 full color photo how-tos!


What tips and tricks do you have for working with patterns?  Tell us below for a chance to win this Indygo Junction prize pack!

Indygo Junction 300x225 Pro Pattern Layout Tips + Comment for a Chance to Win a Prize Pack!


 Pro Pattern Layout Tips + Comment for a Chance to Win a Prize Pack!
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70 Responses to Pro Pattern Layout Tips + Comment for a Chance to Win a Prize Pack!

  1. Janet Rettig says:

    I love to weights to save time on pinning my pattern cutting


    I always press press press. I learned years ago the difference between ironing and pressing. It makes a huge difference.

  3. Tif says:

    I iron the pattern first, then trace the pattern onto another sheet of paper (thereby preserving the original). I then cut out the copy and proceed as usual to layout on the fabric and cut the fabric.

  4. Kyniska says:

    I go through the pattern piece listing and circle all the pieces I need for the view or combination of views I’m making. More than once I’ve missed a piece on the big sheet but gone back because it didn’t get checked off when cut out.

  5. Belinda says:

    I don’t use pins – I hold the pattern down with pattern weights.
    under the cutting line. It really speeds
    things up.

  6. AZ Barbara says:

    Use good bent handle shears to minimize lifting/distorting the fabric as it’s cut. Plus place a hand on the pattern near where you’ll be cutting to keep everything aligned while cutting, accuracy counts.

  7. MelodyJ says:

    Make sure you have all your supplies before you start.

  8. Karen Poole says:

    I circle the layout I’m going to use, before I started doing that, on more then one occasion I did the wrong layout and only noticed when it wasn’t fitting right so I’d have to take everything off and start all over again.

  9. Dana Harris says:

    I really love multi-size patterns, and use different colored markers for each size. If you are consistent with those colors, you will get used to knowing that your size 12, for instance, is always red. Your daughter’s is orange, or whatever. My husband also bought me a rolling magnetized nail-grabber that helps with dropped pins and such. I use chair mats on top of the carpet. And also, if you have cats, the more expensive or floaty the fabric, the better they will like it! But you also don’t want to let them get loose pins, threads or sequins on their feet, because they cannot get it off their rough tongues. The serrations face inward toward their throat, and they REALLY don’t like you to stick your fingers in!

  10. This past year, I started using a tracing wheel and carbon paper to trace patterns vs. cutting them out. Works so much better for me, it is easy to grade between sizes and mark all notches, darts, etc….

  11. Helga says:

    I have problems with fitting since the weight gain. I measure for a size 16 but the shoulders are to wide. I use multi-size patterns to make adjusts by tracing the pattern on pattern paper. I double check the neck to waist length and add to make sure it is long enough. A trick I learn long ago for pant fitting if one has a tummy is to make the pants back one size and the front a bigger size. It worked for my diabetic child. I learned to customize clothing through trial and error, mostly error.

  12. Ramona Hodges says:

    Always check that the design or texture of the material is correct before cutting out a pattern.

  13. Ramona Hodges says:

    Use a washable marker to trace the smallest size from a childs sized pattern onto the material . Then the larger size is still intact when you need it.

  14. I have to concentrate without distractions when cutting out pattern.

  15. BJMarley says:

    If you have cats, put them in another room before you put your fabric and pattern on the table to cut.

  16. Colleen says:

    I think that the organization of all the parts is imperative. I am always happier with results when I take the time to be organized.

  17. Celia Kilgore says:

    I don’t always line up “their” straight of grain lines to be parallel to the selvage. When making an a-line skirt, I move the straight of grain line to the center of each piece before I pin it to fabric. I like the way it hangs better.

  18. LauraM says:

    Trim pattern pieces to cutting line first, then pin onto fabric. When you cut, you’ll just be cutting the fabric. This prevents slight shifting of pattern piece by shears and slight tears on the edge of pattern pieces that can happen when shears sink the tissue into the fabric when cutting.

  19. kim says:

    I iron my fabric before I cut anything. I also iron my pattern. I dislike wrinkles!

  20. Roberta Perpich says:

    Ironing my pattern pieces after a rough cut out then pin to fabric or use weight depending on fabric type and take my time cutting!